The details of how the scheme will apply to British citizens remain hazy however.
Those working in sensitive roles or locations, starting with airport workers, will ‘start’ to get them next year.
From 2010 they will start to be issued voluntarily to young people “to assist them in proving their identity as they start out their independent life in society”
In 3 years time “we shall start to enrol British citizens at high volumes offering a choice of receiving a separate identity card, passport or both”
The details published in the press suggest that the card (for British nationals) will have picture, name, sex, date & place of birth, nationality, issue & expiry date, 2 finger prints & a unique national identity registration number
The fingerprint details will be of no use to anybody who wishes to check the card but does not have the equipment to check the fingerprint of the person standing in front of them.
It is also admitted that fingerprints will not work for the 4 million people over 75, presumably because of thinning of the skin. No doubt there will be others for whom they will not work either, espcially if the two fingers to be recorded are specified in the regulations
The other information is no different from that given on most other plastic cards
This all seems just a very expensive way to give us all a unique national identity registration number, to add to the 2 (completely unrelated numbers) we already have for National Insurance & the NHS
Something of this sort has quite often been put forward over the years by those charged with that most basic of statistical tasks, counting the population
But, given the uncoordinated, hit & miss kind of way the identity cards will be issued, & the uncertain timetable, they seem unlikely to be of any help in this statistical task in the near future – indeed will merely add to the confusion & argument.